White pairs with shrimp, red vino with beef dishes

Believe it or not, there was a time when Bordeaux was at every Saturday night dinner party in town and on first dates, too. People had shrimp with the white and beef with the red. Life was simpler then.


No one knew — or cared — about grape names. White Bordeaux did not tell you it was made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and Red Bordeaux made no mention of being from Merlot and Cabernet grapes. Today producers are putting this information on the labels because people want it.


Are you ready for a little Bordeaux retro? Dare to party with the wine your parents drank? You’ll need to serve a shrimp appetizer and beef main course. Bordeaux prices are still reasonable and the quality has never been better. I’ve selected a pair of wines that are not as dry as the Bordeaux of the old days.


But first a little background. Bordeaux is a region on the west coast of France. Everyone lives in a castle which they call a chateau. The wines often feel a bit reserved at first so you need to be patient. Think European movies over the Hollywood style.

Calvet White is a hard one to pin down. It is not as obvious as most whites — it is sort of earthy with savoury flavours. It’s fun to start an evening with a wine that’s a little different. Plus, White Bordeaux and grilled shrimp were made for each other.

Calvet Red is also sort of earthy, but feels rich and warmhearted too. It is out to please with spicy sweet flavours. It’s a great partner for steak, especially if you light some candles and play Sinatra.

This Saturday at Vintages: South African reds have a unique style that’s a combination of big, hot country flavours and deep, mysterious qualities of the old European wines. Rich meets rustic in these glamour wines with soul. These wines from Saturday’s Vintages release will make great winter companions.

  • GRAHAM BECK 2004 Merlot: LCBO No.: 607804, Price: $15.95. This wine is hearty with smokey flavours. It is a gutsy wine for Canadian winter meals. For something lush and seductive try this wine.

  • LAMMERSHOEK 2004 Pinotage: LCBO No.: 954594, Price: $17.95. This wine is quite the charmer and is great for a spicy evening.

  • ROBERTSON WINERY 2004: Shiraz ‘Wolfkloof’; LCBO No.: 626341, Price: $19.95. Fans of heft will love this wine. It’s a manly, steak house Shiraz with great vigour. This guy can dance.

  • GRAHAM BECK 2001: Cabernet/Pinotage ‘The William’; LCBO No.: 593467, Price: $22.95. This wine is mature with smooth and spicy sweet flavours. Sip it after dinner, from a big glass, of course.

More Vintages picks are posted at www.billysbestbottles.com.

Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2005.

Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor information about his in-home wine-tasting seminar. To receive a free copy

of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter, e-mail info@billysbestbottles.com.


  • CALVET RESERVE ’04 WHITE, Bordeaux: LCBO No.: 144568 Price: $12

  • CALVET RESERVE ’02 RED, Bordeaux: LCBO No.: 44032 Price: $14.50